Author Archives: Ella Yolande

Norbert Kovacs at PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program, Leipzig, Germany

Norbert Kovacs: Poetic Absurdity

Norbert creates absurd, poetic interactions drawn from observations of behavioural patterns and the way we inhabit spaces. He plays with the functionality of objects and the structures of urban environments. Through a continually experimental and intuitive approach he disrupts and plays with these structures. This develops primarily as video, sound and performance work, often existing as a form of public intervention.

Playing with parameters. 

Norbert investigates the function and purpose of objects, spaces and actions. The concept for a piece usually starts with observation; either as an external observer or through playing with intersections of these elements. Often the object he creates an interaction with is the camera itself, utilising the parameters of the frame and its ability to capture multiple narratives. He will set the camera down and just let it record. Even though it might not be capturing anything specific, the fact that the camera is recording is already forging an action.

From these seemingly non eventful framings Norbert will then extract moments and play with them; reenacting, repeating or expanding them into refined, semi-choreographed happenings. Improvisation is an important part of this process. He seeks to embrace the unknown by listening to the material or the immediate actions of a moment and letting things naturally occur without over rationalising or imposing meaning.

Norbert creates a dialogue with urban design.

Norbert’s piece Urban Intervention #1, 2017 derives from exploring the systemisation of architectural design. This is paired with his interest in investigating the function and materiality of an object, in this case duct tape. He is interested in the relationship we have with objects and how they can evoke so many different emotions. Using the absurd gesture of taping large blocks of concrete, he wove through the rooms of his house, exploring the units and standards that structure the places we inhabit.  This action was informed by experimental writer George Perec’s musings on how a room without function doesn’t exist and how our daily routines are fixed to these spaces.

Cinematic experience is sometimes more real than real life.

Cinema has a significant influence on his practice. The way perspectives are played with and how multiple stories are presented on screen, offer an interesting reflection on reality. He sees daily life as very cinematic, woven through with many hidden narratives. He is interested in the disparity between separate experiences of people engaged in the same situation. These individual points of view can be disrupted and scaled up or down to really change and play with a narrative. Norbert also sees cinematic experiences as often more real than real life. In a way you can trust theatre and cinema more as you are aware that you are watching people acting and that your feelings are being manipulated. In real life truths are more blurred.

PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program, photographers as credited

The way these cinematic observations feed into his practice are also informed by philosopher Markus Gabriel’s book Why The World Doesn’t Exist, and artist, filmmaker John Smith. In particular in his pieces OM, 1986 and The Girl Chewing Gum 1976, Smith completely orchestrates and alters the viewers perspective and understanding of a situation. He plays with how sound and selective view points build up expectations and narratives which he then dissolves. Norbert explored this presentation of multiple narratives in his live video projection and sound performance Untitled #1, 2018.

Disrupting patterns of movement.

Norbert’s most recent piece, Jogging the Frame, 2020, also draws on these shifting perspectives and how they exist within a physical and digital space. It is a very direct interaction with the viewpoint and parameters of the camera lens. You witness him mapping out the two dimensional surface of the camera frame by travelling along 3 dimensional pathways in the urban environment. He is interested in looking at different aspects of the landscapes we inhabit, in particular the systems that govern the way we navigate these spaces. These structures of urban geography, such as pedestrian crossings, fences or traffic lights, create routine patterns of movement. By imposing a pathway dictated by the 16:9 ratio of the camera frame, Norbert interrupts these patterns. These slightly absurd public actions fluctuate between disrupting and fitting in with our daily structures.

Seen from a birds eye view, the paths created to fit the shape of the camera frame form interesting shapes. They become distorted by the perspective and how the architecture and obstacles force him to traverse the landscape. Through this seemingly simple action of jogging the frame, he disrupts  patterns of movement and the way we experience topological space on screen and within the physical environment.

Currently Norbert is wanting to develop more sound based work. He also wants to further explore multiple perspectives within situations and happenings, and focus on the potential film has to really play with these narratives. See how his work develops in the final exhibition of Round 45 in December, Flat Time Experience.

To see more of his work, visit his website and instagram.


images supplied by artist

Big Soft Illusion

14-22 Nov 2020
Alte Handelsschule Geisserstr 75

Lichtspiele des Westens

5 Dec 2020
34 Josefstr.

Flat Time Experience

Vernissage: Fri 18 Dec
details: TBA
PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program, Franz-Flemming-Str 9